Vintage Vinyl

This week: The Bassmen “The Last Laugh”/“Come On Home” Gallantry, 1965

Tucson had a very active music scene in the 1960s. There was support from local radio for local releases and gear was readily available via the Chicago Music Store, which had a vast selection of instruments and was the Southwest dealer for Vox guitars, keyboards, and amplifiers. Bands could play almost anywhere, such as hardware store openings or local movie showings (such as The Intruders, later The Dearly Beloved, who opened for the movie A Hard Day's Night at a local drive-in). Tucson was very ripe with music venues; many accessible to teens: Sunset Rollerama, The Web, Stingray Club, Hi Ho Club, VIP Club, The Dollhouse, The Cedars, The Hydra Club and The Embers.

The Bassmen played many of these local teen hangouts, and released a record locally which was, according to drummer Jack Gemmer, (sourced from the liner notes on the Bacchus Archives' Think of the Good Times! Tucson compilation) recorded at "some guy's house" with guitars and bass in the family room, and drums in the bedroom with towels on the heads and clothespins on the cymbals. It's a classic mid-'60s teenage garage record which was finally heard by ears outside of Tucson in the early '80s when it was "bootlegged" on the low-budget Boulders '60s garage comp series.

Lee Joseph grew up in Tucson. He's a DJ (, marketer of cool shit (Reverberations Media) and founder/CEO of internationally respected Dionysus Records, an indie that has long specialized in releasing super-rare music, and more. He came of age in the first wave of Tucson punk rock and is an expert on Tucson music. He now lives in California. Vintage Vinyl is a recurring column in Tucson Weekly.